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Updated: May 27

Stern Brau was brewed in Belleville Illinois by the Star Brewery.

Manufactured by: Mt. Vernon Neon Sign Company.

Manufactured year: Sometime in the 1940's.

Porcelain colors: White, red and black

Size: 35" by 39"

Neon: Standard red

The History of Stern Brau: Belleville's Star Brewery Gem

Stern Brau, a renowned beer once brewed in Belleville, Illinois, carries a rich history tied to the Star Brewery, an institution that played a significant role in the local brewing landscape. Founded in the late 19th century, Star Brewery became a prominent fixture in Belleville, known for its commitment to quality and its German-inspired brewing traditions.

Star Brewery was established in 1871 by German immigrant Anton Beck. Beck brought with him the traditional brewing techniques of his homeland, which were well-suited to the tastes of the growing German-American population in the Midwest. Located in Belleville, a city with a substantial German immigrant community, the brewery quickly became a local favorite.

Stern Brau, which translates to "Star Brew" in German, was one of the flagship beers produced by Star Brewery. This beer was crafted as a traditional lager, characterized by its smooth, malty flavor and crisp finish. The brewery's dedication to using high-quality ingredients and traditional brewing methods ensured that Stern Brau stood out in a competitive market.

The popularity of Stern Brau grew steadily, and it became a staple in local taverns and homes throughout Belleville and beyond. The beer's reputation for quality made it a preferred choice for many, and it played a significant role in establishing Star Brewery as a respected name in the regional brewing industry.

The early 20th century brought challenges for many breweries, and Star Brewery was no exception. Prohibition, which lasted from 1920 to 1933, forced the brewery to halt the production of Stern Brau and other alcoholic beverages. During this period, Star Brewery, like many others, pivoted to producing near beer and other non-alcoholic products to stay afloat.

With the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, Star Brewery resumed the production of Stern Brau. The post-Prohibition era saw a resurgence in the beer's popularity as consumers once again sought out their favorite brews. Stern Brau's consistent quality and traditional flavor profile helped it regain its place in the market.

The mid-20th century brought increased competition and consolidation in the brewing industry. Despite these challenges, Star Brewery and its Stern Brau brand maintained a loyal following. However, the pressures of the evolving market eventually led to the brewery's closure in the latter half of the century.

Today, Stern Brau is remembered fondly by those who enjoyed its distinct taste and the sense of community it fostered. The legacy of Star Brewery and its flagship beer, Stern Brau, remains a proud chapter in Belleville's brewing history. This history is a testament to the enduring impact of traditional brewing methods and the cultural significance of local breweries in American communities.

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